Set in Ireland during the Great Famine, the drama follows an Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, as he abandons his post to reunite with his family. Despite ...
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Set in Ireland during the Great Famine, the drama follows an Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, as he abandons his post to reunite with his family. Despite experiencing the horrors of war, he is shocked by the famine's destruction of his homeland and the brutalization of his people and his family.Written by
The term 'black 47' refers to the summer of 1847, when the Irish potato famine was at its height and hundreds of thousands of people died from starvation. See more »
The scene with the train could never have happened in 1847 as the first train to Galway was in 1851 and it was on a single line, not a double track. The train featured is also way to modern and large in steam terms for the time and pulled way too many wagons and certainly did not go to Connemara at this time nor was it standard gauge. See more »
"To see a world in a grain of sand, and the heavens in a wild flower"
In the mid 18th c, William Blake penned the opening lines of his Auguries of Innocence to illumine the complexity that is our world, self evident in the growth cycle of a wild flower, to reveal how our human experience may be grasped and understood in the simplest forms.
In a similar way, we may turn to the media of film and attempt to engage, so to understand better, that which is known but not always so will perceived. So often, our attention is diverted by the day-to-day challenges of our times. But, from time to time, a song, a picture, a film, a moment will draw our attention in, to interact with, and to show a past moment, made present, to speak to the challenges of our day.
And so, the release of Black 47 reaching now to the 19th c., a film engaging with the historic realities of a famine, draws our mind to understand the challenge of what kind of person might one be, in face of what we do not anticipate in the normal turn of our lives. And it engages with society, become careless with life itself, when the structures of communities collapse, yet where compassion and courage still yet find their voice in the choices one may make.
Black 47 is a film that communicates on a number of levels simultaneously. It speaks of the physical reality of a society in hunger, in a land, wealthy and ecology, fertile. It speaks of the travesty and in turn absurdity of an educated class in response to these events, where we simply look away. It speaks to the unseen but deeply understood observations of human nature caught in a story told, a song that is sung, in the immediacy of an image momentarily still. It speaks to a reality of how a culture so strong, a language so complex, becomes eroded. It speaks of communities disseminated, a people driven to other lands to emigration and isolation yet coming forward to stand along with another. And it speaks to the choices one may make along the way, choices that turn and return as the characters attempt to find their place through their acts along the way.
The film communicates by its narrative and by moments that remain in the mind, as a painting might, of the physical realities and emotional interplay of events unfolding. It is a film that is carefully considered and maturely thought - through. It is moving and it is revealing. While one would not wish to witness the suffering of others, the film transcends the dangers of excessive violence or vicious thinking but rather attempts to simply bring to light the choices made and the choices that are simply, potentially there. It is compelling and it is compassionate. The director, the cast and production teams may be quietly satisfied for now bringing into play a realisable experience of human suffering and how it is, crises for cultures may come so easily into play.
Black 47 is currently showing in Ireland at the Irish Film Institute.
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